Stalin s But at the same time there is reference to the Soviet
Romer ; May I remark that we have received a number of Notes from
the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs stating that all residents in
these districts have become Soviet citizens. The Polish Embassy in
Kuybyshev has even received a written warning that intervention on behalf
of individual persons will not be considered until evidence is produced
showing the whereabouts of such persons on November 1 and 23 1939.
Stalin : Distinction is made between those who happened to be in those
territories and those who lived there permanently.
Molotov : Citizens of a number of State's could have been there at the
time, as for example Rumanians, Hungarians, Frenchmen and others, but
obviously they did not acquire Soviet citizenship on this account. Our
Constitution provides distinctly for such eventualities, which., however,
have to be examined individually.
Romer : This is an entirely new situation to me. 1 find this interpreta-
tion, which I hear for the first time, extremely interesting. Hitherto, ever
since its Note of December 1, 1941, the Soviet Government has adhered
consistently to the attitude that especially that category of Polish citizens
who found themselves in the territories in question at the time specified.,
acquired Soviet citizenship.
Stalin : Excuse me, Mr. Ambassador, but persons whose presence in
these territories was merely transitory did not automatically acquire Soviet
Romer : I can quote a whole series of concrete cases of the attitude
hitherto held by the Soviet Government. I do not remember them all,
but a classical example is that of the two Warsaw city councillors. Alter
and Erlich, who despite our objections and representations were classified
as Soviet citizens.
Molotov : There may have been individual cases.
Romer : What is then the official Soviet interpretation in this matter,
Mr. President ? All Soviet Notes and statements have indicated hitherto
that in practice all Polish citizens in the U.S.S.R. have lost their citizenship.
We cannot agree to that.
Stalin : The Polish Government persists in considering as Polish
citizens all Poles now in the U.S.S.R. That is wrong. Truly, a number
of Soviet offices have overstepped their authority in certain individual cases,
but we must put a stop to extremes. I must moreover point out that it
also depends on the person concerned what citizenship he wishes to choose.
Thus everybody must be asked. Take, Mr. Ambassador, the example of
Wanda Wasilewska, a Pole from Warsaw who considers herself a Soviet
citizen. The people's wishes must be given consideration, one cannot
force citizenship upon them. There is in our Note a reference to the
Citizenship Act. I must admit that not all Soviet bureaus have always
acted along uniform lines and correctly. But not all tha> Poles who lived
and were domiciled in Polish territory will be Polish citizens. That has
to be stopped. There are some who are coming over to us.......
Romer : Many Poles, Soviet citizens, have lived in the territories of the
U.S.S.R. for many years. We do not claim them, nor have we ever raised
Stalin : I was thinking of Poles domiciled in the western parts of the
Ukraine and White Ruthenia.
Romer : I therefore note, Mr. President, that you recognize the will of
each person concerned as an important element in determining his or her